We all have days when events may not turn out as we had originally planned, the database doesn’t report the results you wanted, and the drycleaners didn’t have your coat back when they said, or even, the cat threw up on the carpet! These can spiral us into a ‘bad’ mood and we often become vocal about them. From events such as these, do you find yourself with legitimate complaints or maybe just droning on about everything? Could this be unjustified whining? Do others comment that they have heard enough from you?

This might be a good time to distinguish whether you are just whining or have not been served as originally promised. We all know how difficult it is to work or to coordinate actions in companies or community groups where we cannot rely on the fulfillment of promises. Consider this. A promise is a commitment for the future that can directly impact your actions going forward. However, there is a chance that circumstances beyond individual control that can make fulfillment impossible. In these cases, legitimate complaints of non-fulfillment are justified. Too often, the situation becomes magnified because no one came back to you to re-negotiate the promise. Feedback is useful to take the ‘fuel’ out of the complaint process. You can imagine this process as a ‘circle back’. You can notify the person or group by phone, in person, mail, etc. that a commitment has to be delayed or re-negotiated. Even with the delay, the ultimate outcome will be the fulfillment of the promise, maybe even better than originally committed to!

When you are faced with the choice of whether you have a legitimate complaint or are just whining, ask yourself:

• What has not been fulfilled for you in an original commitment or promise, the item is damaged, not delivered on time, not in the form you wanted, Excel versus PowerPoint, etc.?
• Did you make your desires fully understood when you ordered an item, a service, or a company report, with the description of the item, the form it should be delivered in, and the time it should be delivered by?
• If you need to re-negotiate a promise-commitment, can you identify the correct resources to help you and the new time frame for the delivery to the requester?
• Are you associating your request for help as diminishing your own self worth?

“Complaining is good for you as long as you’re not complaining to the person you’re complaining about!” Lynn Johnston

Am I Just Whining?

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